The weekend performance for the Hawks helped erase some of the sting of the team’s slow start in the USPHL’s new Midwest Division. “It was a great weekend for our guys. Our young team became men in Massachusetts and showed they are now learning our system in front of a pretty important audience,” said Hawks Head Coach Jason McCrimmon, who enjoyed a homecoming of sorts, having played college hockey in the Bay State.
The long bus ride and a break down on the way, did not help the Hawks chances as they arrived very late Thursday night in anticipation of a 7:30 a.m. Friday opener against the Florida Eels in Gallant Arena at Merrimack College. But the Hawks ended up in overtime, winning a tough 2-1 shootout victory with Logan Wilt’s first Hawks goal and shootout tallies from Daniil Demidov and Andrew Baxter.
The sleepy team then braced for a Friday afternoon trip to Tyngsboro and a battle against the Frederick (MD) Freeze. The Hawks led throughout, on the strength of goals from Demidov, Baxter, Julian Willibey and Trevor Pode, and went away with a 4-2 win and an undefeated start to the weekend.
On Saturday in Tyngsboro, the Hawks again found themselves in overtime, but not without some heroics from Trevor Pode who scored with .03 seconds left to tie the game at 2 after Baxter had given the Hawks an early lead against the Atlanta Junior Knights. But Motor City had its first defeat of the weekend when the Knights scored early in overtime and the Hawks then prepared for their final Showcase battle against the USP3 South Division’s Carolina Eagles on Sunday. Not to again disappoint those in attendance who love extra hockey, the Hawks found themselves in another overtime after goals from Alec Domin and Justin Session in regulation set the stage for Brenden Geertz’ shootout winner sending Motor City home with a very successful weekend against some of the east coast’s best Tier 3 talent.
Goalies Jacob Vanderlee, Jacob Gorzelski and Ryan Budnick played exceptional hockey for the Hawks throughout the showcase with sterling regulation play and some incredible performances in shootouts.
“It was a great bonding opportunity for us. There was no negative energy the whole weekend and we excelled in all areas, especially in goal and in our penalty killing, which was amazing. Our forwards put up numbers and we played much more controlled hockey,” said McCrimmon.
The Hawks go back on the road Friday with a rematch against the Midwest Division’s top ranked Tri-City Ice Hawks in Bay City and then a two-game set Friday and Saturday in Alpena against the Flyers.